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Calling Coach P! Can UConn Deliver An Early Holiday Gift to Syracuse?

The Huskies need to help the Belk Bowl reps make the decision a little easier.

Courant.com

Update: Saturday 7:27a. Can Coach P deliver one final victory for Syracuse fans? UConn hosts Cincinnati in their regular season finale this afternoon, and the outcome directly affects the Orange.

SU has earned a share of the Big East title by virtue of Louisville’s win Thursday night. A Huskies win means the Bearcats can’t claim the same thing.

UC is 8-3, 4-2 in the Big East. Should Coach P find one more college football Saturday of success, the Orange will finish ahead of Cincinnati in the conference. Even though the Bearcats have one more overall win, that shouldn’t be enough to keep the Belk Bowl from choosing Syracuse. A Cincy win puts them at 9 overall victories, and the same conference record as the Orange, meaning SU could be in the Pinstripe Bowl again.

While geographically, Cincinnati is a few hours closer to Charlotte than Syracuse, the Bearcats attendance has been dismal this season and the school does not traditionally travel well. While SU is not Oho State or Nebraska, the Orange will likely represent decently at the Belk because of the renewed optimism of the fan base and the late season momentum. The Belk probably wants to choose SU. The Huskies need to help make that decision a little easier.

UConn has been fairly terrible this season, with just two wins in conference. But the crazy overtime win over the Cardinala last week shows they still have some fight left, and Paul Pasqualoni may be coaching for his job. The Huskies become bowl eligible with a win, so there’s certainly something to play for. It’s time for Coach P to secure one last win for SU.

Posted: D.A.

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Update: 6:53p. Trusty Fizzer Andrew Kanell tells me that the Russell Athletic Bowl will prioritize overall record and not the conference one. So a scenario where Syracuse finishes with the second best league record (5-2) vs. Louisville’s third place slot (4-3),  reps would still choose the Cards over SU because of UofL’s total wins (9 to 7).

If that’s case with the Belk Bowl too, Cincinnati already has eight wins, so SU would be slotted to the Pinstripe no matter what. This is a world I can’t live in.

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Update: Thursday 4:56p. There is a groundswell of SU fans who would love to see Rutgers fall to Louisville tonight, giving the Orange a share of the Big East title. I’m squarely in the other camp.

As I diagrammed below this weekend, there was still the slim mathematic possibility the Orange could win the league’s BCS bid with that 5-2 mess (should the Cardinals win). So why not root for a sluggish UofL win and cross your fingers?

But the numbers were spat back at us a few days ago, and they don’t give Syracuse much of a chance in that scenario. Neither Louisville, Rutgers or Syracuse are ranked in the BCS top 25. None were in the AP Poll either, but the Cardinals and Knights both received votes. SU did not. In the USA Today coach’s rankings, Louisville’s 23rd, while Rutgers is 25th. Cincinnati got votes, Syracuse didn’t.

Last week the Orange did get Harris Poll votes, and SU garnered 10 of those this week. Unfortunately, the Cards are 24th in that ranking. Rutgers got 302 votes.

So even if UofL wins tonight, it really doesn’t matter. There is almost no scenario where the Cards win and Syracuse hops them to win the Big East’s BCS bid. That’s why you should be rooting for Rutgers. 

An RU victory gives the Scarlet Knights the Big East championship outright, and hands Louisville its third loss. If Coach P can deliver one more win to the Syracuse program and knock off Cincinnati this weekend, Syracuse sits alone as the 2-seed in the Big East and is going to the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando.

Even a Louisville win tonight would likely give Rutgers the second-seed in the Big East, and it heads to Florida. If Cincy takes out the Huskies, the Bearcats probably travel to the Belk Bowl. And that leaves SU in the Bronx. Again.

So say it with me… “Let’s go Rutgers (clap… clap… clap clap clap).”

Posted: D.A.

* * *

Can Syracuse actually represent the Big East in a BCS game? The possibility is still alive after a pair of incredible upsets Saturday. Considering where we stood after the first half of the season, it feels utterly impossible SU could be heading to the Orange Bowl. But the words that scrolled across ESPN’s “Bottom Line” tonight beamed bright like the lights of the Carrier Dome.

“If Louisville and Connecticut both win, then either Louisville, Rutgers or Syracuse will win Big East based on BCS rankings.”

First, Syracuse had to take care of its part of the bargain by beating Temple Friday. Check.

Then the nuttiness happened. A dreadful Pitt team, rated near last in the conference Power Rankings by The Fizz this week had to upend the #22 Scarlet Knights, who were 5-0 in the league. Check.

Not only did the Panthers win, but they dominated 27-6. RU looked hollow all afternoon, possibly paralyzed by the opportunity in front of it.

To top it off, UConn had to pull the upset on #19 Louisville. Check. The Huskies had been obliterated by the Orange earlier in the season, and played lifeless, pathetic football for most of the year. Connecticut blew a 10-0 lead before winning in a zany triple overtime, 23-20.

So now we have two enormous games for SU’s season. The Orange have been bumped up from the seemingly certain fourth spot in the conference, to a very real possibility of a share for the Big East championship. Louisville plays Rutgers Thursday night on national television. A Cardinals win gives UofL, SU and RU all a 5-2 record. If UConn beats Cincinnati, the Bearcats can’t join that group.

Louisville will likely end up in the Orange Bowl in that tie-breaker because before today’s loss it stood at #20 in the BCS, while Syracuse is unranked in it. Rutgers is #18 in the BCS, but would surely drop below UofL with a head-to-head loss this week. Could Syracuse somehow jump ahead of UofL in the BCS?

Maybe.

This is why we need to be rooting hard for a sloppy Cards win and Coach P. UConn knocking out the Beracats is good for business, since UC beat Syracuse this season. The Orange beat Louisville, but will finish 7-5, while UofL would have a 10-2 record.

So where’s the hope? The Harris Poll. Syracuse actually received votes last week (3) in it. So with the Temple win, maybe the Orange crack into the BCS 25 (Arizona and Washington are both 7-5 and rated #24 and #25). Could today’s loss to a terrible UConn team PLUS a dreary win over an unranked Rutgers team PLUS Syracuse’s head-to-head victory propel the Orange percentage points ahead of Lousiville? Probably not… but there’s A MATHEMATIC CHANCE.

Buckle up, Orange Nation. Even a Cards win gives Syracuse at least a share of the Big East. A UConn win and you can lock the Orange into the Russell Athletic or Belk Bowls at worst. Thanks to two crazy upsets today, things just got real interesting.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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